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Marketing for Web Apps

81c90c868461f066df2fd96482dfa3cf?s=47 christingom
September 26, 2011

Marketing for Web Apps

A presentation I prepared in 2008. Special thanks to all of the people and companies that responded. I'd love to give this presentation again, but with new information.



September 26, 2011


  1. None
  2. None
  3. Marketing 101 Marketing is a set of activities you do

    that are designed to motivate your customers to buy, and then to get them to actually buy. Marketing is the techniques used to attract and persuade consumers. Can include everything from pricing and product design to advertising and sales techniques.
  4. Marketing 101 There are lots of ways people define marketing…

    • Guerrilla Marketing (coined in 1984 by Jay Conrad Levinson in a book by the same name) • Viral Marketing (coined in 1996 in Fast Company) • Product, Price, Place, Promotion (the 4 Ps) • Forehead Marketing
  5. None
  6. These companies answered…

  7. Surprise People • Under promise and over deliver. • Find

    ways to get people talking about you. • Free Prize Inside.
  8. Surprise People “In terms of the percentage of orders that

    we are actually shipping overnight vs. before, it is the same... The only difference is that we are choosing to surprise our customers instead of promising it. Hope this helps! :)” - Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos.com Source: http://www.mpdailyfix.com/2008/03/zappos_true_to_their_sole.html Photo: http://flickr.com/photos/ebayink/2587643747/
  9. JotForm www.jotform.com

  10. I think "Release Early" was one of the big things

    I learned from the success of JotForm. We first released a small, useful, stable and free version of JotForm. That helped us get a lot of a?en@on from bloggers and get feedback from our users. Since we received a great amount of feedback, we had a proof of concept and mo@va@on to con@nue on development. While we worked on the complete version, we received a lot of word of mouth and search engine placements. It took us another year to complete the full version but when we released it we already had about 30,000 users and hundreds of users upgraded to our Premium edi@on in the first month. Aytekin JotForm JotForm
  11. Tumblr www.tumblr.com

  12. Tumblr hasn't done much tradi@onal marke@ng. We're a three‐person start‐up

    that was un@l recently a two‐person startup. And, we have a small budget from venture capital. So, we have largely relied on word of mouth to promote Tumblr. Even the media interviews that our founder/CEO has done have generally happened because a journalist heard about Tumblr from a friend or colleague. I would say making a product people like enough that they want to evangelize it to others has been the main focus for Tumblr. It seems to have worked well so far. Marc LaFountain Community Ambassador Tumblr Tumblr
  13. Own a Word Phrase In Their Minds • Also referred

    to as “The Law of Focus” • Words can be a single word such as “safety,” or two words like “fights cavities.” • Forces you to focus on your core objective. • Once you own a word, it’s yours unless you abandon it. Suggested Reading: The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing
  14. Own a Word Phrase In Their Minds Flickr Google FreshBooks

    Netflix SmugMug Yahoo! QuickBooks Blockbuster
  15. Harvest www.getharvest.com

  16. There’s an unusually large amount of interest for iPhone, so

    we decided to create an iPhone op@mized version of Harvest. We made sure the interface looks sharp and slick, and the Harvest + iPhone story for us has been overwhelming. Our interface was featured in many blogs and the Harvest iPhone web app was featured on Apple's iPhone app directory as a 'staff pick'. That generated a lot of buzz and traffic for us. We started a program called the New Founders Program, and basically we give out a year's worth of free Harvest service to a new business in its first year. The only thing we ask of our New Founders par@cipants is to answer a few ques@ons for an interview that we put on our blog. So we get to help out these young companies, we get to share their story with our community. This does not necessarily translate to traffic or dollar immediately ‐ but I think it's a cornerstone of our business, and it shows our customers that we're out here to not just make a business but also here to help the community. Shawn Harvest Harvest
  17. Viddler.com www.viddler.com

  18. Viddler t‐shirts. Giving em out for free at conferences. Also

    partnerships with popular video producers like Wine Library TV who help us build our audience. Rob Sandie Viddler President Viddler.com
  19. Geni.com www.geni.com

  20. Our best marke@ng prac@ces are not really anything novel. We

    built a product that is easy to use and offers a robust set of features that do a great job of engaging our audience. The worst way to spread the word about a product is through a campaign that doesn't have an effec@ve product with "s@cky" features to back it up. The best way to spread the word is through posi@ve user experiences. If the product is good and the viral flow is implemented correctly the people will come. Also, one of the main things that Geni has done well is funnel users and engage them right from the >me they sign up. An ac>ve community has been crucial to our growth and development. If you take a look at our forum it is super ac@ve and the en@re Geni team actually listens to the feedback and interacts with the forum members. Keith Geni Geni.com
  21. Price • Offer a free version of your product? Source:

  22. Price • Make it easy to try your product. •

    Two step sales cycle.
  23. Price • Use pricing buckets. Suggested Reading: http://www.michaelmcderment.com/2006/01/19/pricing-web-services-step-1-three-buckets/ “What is

    better: buckets or custom pricing? Buckets. How do I know we learned this? Since changing the pricing page on our site, our sign-ups/trials have increased 30%.” – Michael McDerment, CEO of Freshbooks
  24. Price • Price Anchor Points “My advice for those of

    you building web apps based on monthly subscriptions: have a plan for getting people off of the low-paying plans. Or maybe don’t offer a low-paying plan at all.” - Ryan Carson, CEO of Carsonified Source: http://www.barenakedapp.com/dropsend/number-of-users-on-each-plan
  25. Price Excellent Article about Price Anchors: http://www.neurosciencemarketing.com/blog/articles/anchor-prices.htm

  26. Price Excellent Article about Price Anchors: http://www.neurosciencemarketing.com/blog/articles/anchor-prices.htm

  27. Price • Price Anchor Points “With DropSend, we found the

    best way to get people to upgrade is by offering them a coupon. By upgrading before a specific date, they would save anywhere between 10% - 100% of the first month.” - Ryan Carson, CEO of Carsonified Source: http://www.barenakedapp.com/dropsend/number-of-users-on-each-plan
  28. Make Your Product Remarkable • Release a product early no

    matter what.
  29. Make Your Product Remarkable • Give customers a product that

    is getting better. Source: Flickr.com
  30. “Build Your Market” • Build a community. • Reach out

    to bloggers and run your own product blog. • Networking. • Contests, giveaways, free schwag. • Hire a community evangelist.
  31. APIs & Partnerships • Integrate with other applications and services.

    • Piggyback on existing communities and services.
  32. GetCashboard.com www.getcashboard.com

  33. I think the idea that paid off best for ini@ally

    marke@ng Cashboard was the integra>on with Basecamp via their API. It really helped people take no@ce of what we were doing, especially when nobody had heard of us. It's a lot easier for bloggers to write about us when they have a frame of reference. Basecamp already had a huge following, and providing a service that was complimentary helped boost our userbase and reach. One thing which I also constantly do is take part in social marke>ng on sites like twiEer, blogs, and forums. It takes tremendous @me, but searching around the "blogosphere" for people who have wri?en about similar apps and personally invi@ng them to try the app but it pays off in the end. Seth CashBoard GetCashboard.com
  34. Beanstalk www.beanstalkapp.com

  35. No problem. For us, this one is easy. Partnerships. By

    iden@fying complemen@ng products or services you can create a mutually benefi@ng rela@onship that helps both en@@es grow. We've witnessed substan@al growth and credibility by partnering with companies like Versions (Mac subversion client) and EngineYard (highly respected Ruby on Rails host). When compared to tradi>onal adver>sing (The Deck, Daring Fireball), these partnerships cost almost nothing and produced significant results. Hope this helps. I could go into more detail, but I want to keep it short. We've had similar success by integra>ng with other applica>ons like Basecamp, Harvest, and Campfire. Chris Beanstalk Beanstalk
  36. Wufoo www.wufoo.com

  37. First of all, we haven't really spent on any money

    on marke@ng and word of mouth has been crucial to Wufoo's popularity. So that being said, we've been able to generate word of mouth by trying to be remarkable and exceeding customer expecta>ons wherever possible. I know that isn't really one idea, but by always having a focus on "wowing" your customer, you start taking that extra step in everything you do. And taking that li?le step @me acer @me ends up in a product full of areas that your customers will remark on and talk about. Three areas in par@cular that we take pride is our simplicity, personality, and customer support. Another thing we do is send out handwriEen thank you and holiday cards, and you'd be surprised how much a $1 card can brighten somebody's day. Chris Campbell Wufoo.com Wufoo
  38. Ma.gnolia Ma.gnolia.com

  39. Our best marke@ng prac@ce has been building philanthropy and gra@tude

    into our applica@on, most visibly in the form of Give Thanks, where you can thank another member for bookmarking something. When you bring happiness and posi@ve emo@ons to your customers, they will want to spread the word about what you're doing. Cheers, Larry Halff Founder Ma.gnolia
  40. SmugMug www.smugmug.com

  41. No marke@ng has worked for SmugMug really. Who wants to

    pay for photo sharing and storage when there are so many free sites? The only thing that works for us is word of mouth and referrals from our fana@c customers. When someone is hooked to our service, they tell all their friends and family, that works every@me. Markham Benne? SmugMug
  42. JumpBox www.jumpbox.com

  43. By far the most effec@ve thing for us "traffic‐genera@ng‐wise" is

    our presence in the VMware Directory and other free soQware download directories. Sean Tierney COO JumpBox
  44. Tell Your Story • Tell a story about your company,

    your people, and your product. • Build up the personal brand of your founders. • Contribute articles to online and print publications. • Spread the word about how your customers use your product.
  45. Tools • Twitter Search • Google AdWords Keyword Tool https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal

  46. Seen In The Wild Rentometer.com is a mini-site that tells

    people the average rent in an area. At the same time they pitch Rentomatic.com which is a paid web service for landlords.
  47. Seen In The Wild WeAllHateQuickBooks.com is a mini-site that displays

    the latest Twitter messages when people mention QuickBooks. It pitches LessAccounting.com (a paid service) at the same time.
  48. Seen In The Wild Twitter.Zappos.com is a single page that

    aggregates all of the times people mention Zappos on Twitter. It also makes a nice central hub for following Zappos and allows Zappos to introduce people to Twitter.
  49. Recommended Reading

  50. Recommended Reading

  51. Open Discussion • Questions & Answers.